At Bellevue’s Bill the Butcher, it’s always meat and greet

When Dr. Mark Adams of the health and wellness company, Onvo, needs to jump start a new program for a client, he doesn't send them off with a list of tasteless diet foods to buy. Instead, he writes a prescription for grass fed, grass finished meat and sends them next door to Bill the Butcher.

John Neumark

When Dr. Mark Adams of the health and wellness company, Onvo, needs to jump start a new program for a client, he doesn’t send them off with a list of tasteless diet foods to buy. Instead, he writes a prescription for grass fed, grass finished meat and sends them next door to Bill the Butcher.

The old-fashioned butcher shop recently opened its newest location on the corner of Main Street and 106 Avenue Southeast in Bellevue. Named for founding butcher William Von Schneidau, the speciality butcher shop has quickly become known for its sustainable business practices, offering local, grass-fed and hormone-free meats.

The shop ensures a quality product by purchasing meat from local farmers in Carnation, Auburn, Mount Vernon, Duvall, and Spanaway among others. The shop also offers a wide selection of complimentary items including rubs, spices and marinades made locally.

The Bellevue location marks the sixth Bill the Butcher to open since August 2009, with other locations in Woodinville, Redmond and Seattle.

Bill the Butcher CEO J’Amy Owens describes the recent Eastside opening as a prime spot for the neighborhood business. The Bellevue shop offers generous parking, a wide-open interior space and the same ranch-and-roll atmosphere as the other locations.

“We want to create a place that is fun to come to,” she said, pointing out the 60-year-old bucking bronco ride named Brisket, a sure draw for kids. “We want to get back to the roots of what it means to capture the community spirit.”

Owens encourages new customers to pop in and try a piece of the hand-made jerky and meet Bellevue’s head butcher, John Neumark, a former executive chef of Cafe Juanita and Serafina on Lake Union.

Clueless about the best method to prepare a Tuscon-style Pork Loin or a Black Tail Ranch New York Strip Steak? No problem. Neumark is there to lend his expertise and occasionally a marinade made of fresh herbs from his own garden.

“We have brought the traditional butcher shop back to the neighborhood,” Neumark explained. “It’s a little bit like a wine shop in that we feature different types of high quality beef and meats for custom order. We don’t just sell a customer a piece of meat. We take the time to explain the different cuts, walking them through the process.”

Celebrating a successful first year, the company continues with the mission of supporting sustainable farming practices by working with local farmers and ranchers who raise beef, pork and poultry without hormones, steroids and genetically modified feed.

According to Owens, the way the animal is raised makes a world of difference in the flavor of the meat and its health benefits.

“When an animal is fed on a natural diet of grass from start to finish, it allows the animal to mature naturally. This results in leaner, healthier, more flavorful meat that is toxic-free,” she explained. “There is a stark difference between a pig that is raised in the dark in a small pigpen and one that is allowed to graze freely. It’s similar to the difference between drinking a cup of instant coffee with tepid water and sipping a latte from Starbucks. They don’t compare.”

The price point may be slightly higher than the typical meat department at a grocery store, but both Owens and Neumark ensure its worth every penny. Most of the meat retails for between $7 and $20 a pound.

“You come here because you want quality,” Neumark said. “For me, it all comes down to community and quality of life – as a chef, a parent and a consumer. Two things that Bill the Butcher prides itself in.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.

To learn more about Bill the Butcher, visit http://billthebutcher.us/.


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